Small Device Utilizes UV Rays From Sunlight To Disinfect Water

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Jin Xie / Stanford University

Jin Xie / Stanford University

UV rays are capable of beginning to kill bacteria in as little as six hours but the process can sometimes take up to two days.

A team of researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University’s Institute for Materials and Energy Science developed a small device that can expedite this process.

The device works to disinfect water by utilizing UV rays, with additional help from the visible part of the solar spectrum.

In a test, the device which is smaller than a postage stamp and comprised of glass and invisible layers of molybdenum disulfide, was able to kill 99.99 percent of bacteria after 20 minutes of use in 25 milliliters of water.

SLAC/Stanford

SLAC/Stanford

How is the device capable of performing this well?

Well, when hit with visible light, the tiny device transforms into a photocatalyst that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a disinfectant.

While the results are promising, the researchers are quick to point out that it has only been tested with lab-produced E. coli and lactic acid bacteria at this time.

Once it shows it can demolish chemicals or viruses effectively, we’ll be in business.

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